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MBC raided over alleged leak of minister’s personal info

May 30, 2023 - 15:06 By Park Jun-hee
Police investigators raid the MBC headquarters in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The Seoul Metropolitan Police’s anti-corruption unit raided Korean broadcaster MBC on Tuesday as part of a probe into the alleged leaking of Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon’s personal information involving one of its journalists.

The police said the raid of the MBC headquarters in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, was reportedly to search through the reporter’s department to seize evidence. They also raided the home of the MBC reporter in the morning and confiscated the phone and car of the 42-year-old reporter surnamed Lim.

Police also dispatched investigators to the National Assembly secretariat to trace down how Han’s personal data was leaked.

Police are also looking into the personal information Han submitted to the National Assembly for his confirmation hearing in April of last year, as they suspect that the personal data might have been leaked then.

MBC’s labor union released its own statement following the police raid, saying that sending the police to bust into the MBC newsroom over a reporter accused of leaking personal information is an “excessive investigation.”

“It’s been more than a year since the incident occurred, and work is done through personal laptops due to the nature of the job. There are no personal spaces set aside (for individual reporters) in the newsroom,” read the public broadcaster’s statement.

“The MBC bureau of the National Union of Media Workers judges this raid as the start of the suppression of MBC by the Yoon Suk Yeol administration, and will respond in a resolute manner to such moves,” it added.

The investigation began after Kim Min-seok, a city councilor for Seoul’s Gangseo-gu, filed a complaint last month accusing a person of breaching the Personal Information Protection Act after the unidentified individual allegedly leaked Han’s personal documents containing information about his real estate sales history and his family members’ resident registration cards.

MBC is known to have been the first broadcaster to release a subtitled video of President Yoon allegedly using foul language when referring to US President Joe Biden and Congress while caught on a hot mic during Yoon’s visit to New York in September last year. The presidential office disputed the subtitles, condemned MBC for spreading what it called fake news and banned MBC reporters from boarding the presidential jet to cover Yoon’s overseas trips for approximately two months.